Ephesians 5:21-32


I.Intro. our text, Christ makes a very strong statement concerning the church as His bride this passage, God very carefully intertwines the relationship between Him and the church, with the marriage relationship between husband and wife

2.the two ideas are so fused together that it is almost impossible to divide them

B.when we examine the NT, we find that the bride-ship of believers is presented in two ways some places the emphasis is upon the fact that each Christian is individually the bride of Christ other places it is the church as a unity that is the bride of Christ

3.there is no contradiction in this; the church is collectively the bride of Christ, and it is made up of individual Christians, each one of whom is the bride of Christ

C.other places in the NT use the same marriage illustration to show the relationship between Christ and His followers - John 3:28-29, Romans 7:4

1.the picture here is profound, deep and full of meaning the bride puts herself in the bridegroom's arms on the wedding day and then daily, and then children are born, so the individual Christian is to put themselves in the arms of the Bridegroom

3.we place ourselves in the Bridegrooms arms not only once for all in justification, but moment by moment; then the Christian will bear Christ's fruit in this fallen world

D.the OT also emphasizes the bride and the Bridegroom symbolism the OT, God is the husband of His people - Jeremiah 3:14

2.the husband-wife relationship is stressed throughout the Scriptures as an illustration of the wonderful relationship of Christ and the church understanding of this parallel guides our thinking in two directions makes us appreciate the greatness, wonder, and the beauty of marriage helps us to grasp something of the profound relationship between God and His people, and between Christ and His church

II.the bible and sexual adultery

A.the spiritual imagery of marriage is one of the primary reasons the Bible condemns sexual immorality

1.promiscuous relationships destroy the picture that God intended the marriage relationship to be

2.the relationship of God with His people rests upon His character and promises, but sexual relationships outside of marriage breaks this picture

B.God wants us to understand that adultery is a serious sin

1.both the OT and NT speak out strongly against all sexual involvement outside of marriage

2.the Bible never allows us to tone down the seriousness of adultery because it shatters the illustration of the relationship that God intended there to be between Christ and the church - Deuteronomy 22:22

III.the bride of Christ and spiritual adultery - 2 Corinthians 11:1-3 we learn two valuable lessons about how adultery in marriage is applicable to the Christian's relationship with Christ Paul states that every person, who has become a Christian, has become the bride of Christ

2.he also warns that the bride of Christ can be led away and corrupted by unfaithfulness there can be physical adultery, so too there can be spiritual adultery to Christ one is perfect; none of us are totally faithful to our divine Bridegroom

1.we are all weak, and many times we are unfaithful in our thoughts or our actions

2.there is a clear distinction between the imperfection of all Christians and spiritual adultery

3.spiritual adultery happens when those who claim to be God's people stop listening to what God has said and turn to other gods

4.this is also known in the Bible as apostasy

C.there is a stigma in the use of the term adultery that the world today wishes to avoid

1.often the word is avoided, and called something else, so that adultery never has to be named

2.the same is true with the term apostasy in the Christian realm

a)men like to tone down these terms, but God does not

b)adultery is the term which God applies like a knife to His people when they are unfaithful to Him

c)God uses the term adultery, and parallel terms, over and over again in Scripture, in regard to His people - Ex 34:12-15; Lev. 20:5-6 Judg 2:17; Isa 1:21; Jer 3:6-9; Ezek 16:30-32; Rev 17:1-5

IV.spiritual adultery today

A.when those who claim to be God's people turn aside from the Word of God and from Christ, it is far more heinous in the sight of God than the worst case of infidelity in marriage

1.God does not minimize promiscuity in sexual relationships, but apostasy or spiritual adultery is worse

2.we must learn to see things as God does

B.consider the claims of liberal theology denies the personal God how created all things; it denies the divine, historic Christ; it denies the Bible as God's verbalized Word; it denies God's way of salvation

2.the liberals have elevate their own humanistic theories to a position above the Word of God

3.they make gods which are no gods, but are merely the projection of their own minds

C.God spoke out strongly against the Jews for following idols

1.modern liberal theology is worse than this, for it turns against greater light, against greater blessing

2.modern liberal theology is more heinous than following the Molech of old

D.the facts concerning Molech - Jeremiah 32:35

1.Molech was an idol in the valley of Hinnom, which the Jews were constantly warned against following

2.Molech was the god to which newborn babies were sacrifice, this was the central act of his worship

3.the firstborn of every woman had to be sacrificed to Moloch

4.according to tradition, there was an opening at the back of the brazen idol, and each parent had to come and place his firstborn child in the white-hot, out-stretched hands of Molech

5.according to this tradition, the parent was not allowed to show emotion, and drums were beaten so that the baby's cries could not be heard, as the baby died in the hands of Molech

E.many children today are destroyed by a worse than Molech who were supposedly the men of God, have stood by while their children were eaten up by modern theology

2.many bear the marks of these things from the background from which they come

3.all of us are marked by this in some way, because our Western, post-Christian world has been undercut by liberal theology

4.every scar this present generation has, every tear cried, every baby aborted, every drug trip taken, cannot be separated from the fact that the church has turned away and become unfaithful

5.this generation, are the babies in the hands of Molech, and are we supposed to stand by and hear their cries and cover them up by beating loudly the drums, we are to weep and to act

V.God's Word for our generation

A.what does God say to our generation; exactly the same thing that He said to Israel many years ago – Ezekiel 6:9 [because I am broken with their whorish heart]

1.this is how God looks at much of the modern church and on our Western culture

2.this is how He looks on much of our cinema, much of our drama, much within our art museums

3.above everything else, this is the way He looks into the churches in which a gospel that is no gospel is being preached

4.God is saddened; should we not be moved

B.He is the same God today; He is the living God; He is the unchanging God

1.will He not do in the midst of this situation, what He did in the midst of the Jewish situation in the days of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel

2.will He not judge our culture, will He not call it adulterous

3.yes, God will judge our culture unless there is a return to a Christian base for our culture, and that begins with true repentance and renewal in the church

C.what should be our response - Jeremiah 13:27 redeemed people we should know the joy of Christ, but as we look around us in the church and in our culture, we do not see it

2.we must say these words while we cry for the individual

3.we must not speak more lightly than Jeremiah; we must not be any less moved then God Himself

4.our response must not be merely a theoretical discussion of an intellectual nature; it must be the cry, “Woe, O liberal church! Woe, O apostate Christendom” is not just a question of abstract theology, nor just an academic difference is the difference between loyalty to the living God and spiritual adultery

a)spiritual adultery against the Creator and the Judge of the universe

b)spiritual adultery, against the only adequate Bridegroom for man; the only adequate Bridegroom for all people in all the world

c)spiritual adultery against the only One who can fulfill the longing of the human heart turn away from the divine Bridegroom is to turn to unfulfillment; this is not only sin, but it is destruction

VI.God's Word for us

A.we who have been redeemed by God's grace on the basis of the blood of the Lamb, must according to what we are

1.who are we:  we are not just those going to heaven, we are the bride of Christ

2.what does our divine Bridegroom want from us:  He wants not only doctrinal faithfulness, but our love day by day

B.we have a crucial question to ask about ourselves

1.we must ask, “do we fight merely for doctrinal faithfulness”

a)this is like the wife who never sleeps with anybody else, but never shows love to her own husband

b)is that a sufficient relationship in marriage; 10,000 times no

c)if we are a Christian who speaks and acts for doctrinal faithfulness, but does not show love to our divine Bridegroom, we are in the same place as such a wife

2.what God wants from us is not only doctrinal faithfulness, but our love day by day; not in theory, but in practice

C.for those of us who are the children of God, we must realize the seriousness of modern apostasy and urge each other not to have any part in it the same time we must realize that we must love our Savior and Lord

2.we must be the loving, true bride of the divine Bridegroom in reality and in practice, day by day, in the midst of the unfaithfulness of our generation

3.our call is first to be the faithful bride, but that is not the total call

4.the call is not only to be the faithful bride, but to be the bride in love